Monday, May 07, 2012
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Economic growth strong enough to close temporary unemployment insurance program

Long-term unemployed should visit

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[May 07, 2012]  CHICAGO -- Falling unemployment rates and steady economic growth mean an extended unemployment insurance program ends this month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said last week. The expiring federal program affects individuals who have collected benefits for more than 79 weeks.

The Extended Benefit program, or EB, ends Saturday because specific economic factors set forth by federal officials were met, such as the falling unemployment rate. Illinois EB claimants will be notified via mail and email. Final payments will be issued during the two weeks following May 12. No further unemployment program exists for those who exhaust benefits in the extended program.

"Today's news demonstrates the significant progress our economy has made, but there are still those struggling to find work," IDES Director Jay Rowell said in the May 2 announcement. "I encourage anyone who is unemployed or underemployed to visit, where they will find more than 90,000 job openings."

Illinois JobLink allows businesses to create want ads that require specific skills and to search resumes using keywords such as salary, educational attainment and location. Individuals can create multiple resumes using keywords to emphasize skills that target specific jobs in different industries. The cross-matching approach increases success and reduces costs for both parties. This no-cost job board is on par with private efforts that can cost employers hundreds of dollars for each job advertisement.

Illinois has added 142,100 jobs since January 2010, when job growth returned after nearly two years of consecutive monthly declines. The January 2010 unemployment rate peaked at 11.4 percent and has trended downward since. The March rate, the latest available, was 8.8 percent. For EB to remain active, the unemployment rate's three-month moving average must be at least 10 percent higher than in the corresponding period in any one of the last three years. EB has been paid since March 2009.

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Up to 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits had been potentially available. EB represents the final 20 weeks. The other 79 weeks are divided between regular benefits, which are funded by Illinois businesses, and Emergency Unemployment Compensation Tiers I, II, III and IV, which are funded by the federal government. The EUC program will end Dec. 29, according to current federal law. The EUC tiers were enacted at various times under Presidents Bush and Obama.

[Text from Illinois Department of Employment Security file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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